Emergency Powers (Continuance and Amendment) Bill, 1945—Report Stage (Resumed).

Friday, 13 July 1945

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 97 No. 22

First Page Previous Page Page of 5 Next Page Last Page

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:—

In page 2, Section 5, sub-section (1), to delete paragraph (c), lines 42 to 44, and substitute the following paragraph:—

(c) by deletion of paragraph (j) of sub-section (2) and the substitution [2434] therefore of the following paragraph:—

(j) authorise and provide for the prohibition, restriction or control of the entry of persons (other than natural-born Irish citizens) into the State or the departure of persons out of the State and the movements of persons (other than natural-born Irish citizens) within the State;—(An Taoiseach).

Mr. Butler: Information on Bernard Butler  Zoom on Bernard Butler  I propose to be very brief this morning because I know that every reasonable Deputy is anxious to discharge the work before the House as expeditiously as possible. In my opening remarks, I contended that all the speeches from the Opposition Benches were based on a false assumption—the assumption that the Government were seeking powers which they would use in a tyrannical and undiscriminating manner, which would be brought to bear on everyone in the country and those who wish to leave this country to seek work abroad. I pointed out that farmers, those who are afraid of the danger of fuel shortage, those who are anxiously awaiting the erection of houses and flats, especially in the City of Dublin, those who are concerned with the manning of our fields and factories, in fact, everyone concerned for the future of this country, would give very little thanks to the members of the Opposition Parties who are, apparently, trying to encourage, or at least to facilitate, young people in leaving this country. All the speeches were full of sweeping statements and untrue statements. For instance, it is quite untrue to say that no one leaves this country to seek work abroad except those who cannot obtain employment in this country. There is no need, for instance, for any domestic servant to leave this country. There is a shortage of domestic servants in the City of Dublin, and any good domestic servant can get good wages, very good food and very much better homes, social and moral surroundings in Dublin than probably she will get in Britain or possibly any other country.

I know that many fathers and mothers are very concerned because [2435] their sons and daughters are anxious to get away, very often for the mere sake of change. I have known farmers' sons whose labour was badly needed on the home farm to come to Dublin on the off chance of picking up a job. Hundreds, possibly thousands of them go to Britain and work there for less than what their labour on their own farms at the present time would bring them. Young people will go out of a spirit of adventure or a desire for change or, possibly, on account of a family quarrel or a false sense of values. A contributory cause may well be the sort of propaganda that is being used by the chief Opposition Party and by the Opposition Press to the effect that this country is in a state of wretchedness and misery and which paints our neighbouring country as a sort of El Dorado. Whatever the cause is it is true that quite a number go abroad who could get good remunerative work at home. Frequently people who have been working in England come to me to ask me to help them to get a job here. They have come back voluntarily, and they have confessed to me that they left jobs here to go to England only to find that, with the high cost of lodgings, the very much higher cost of cigarettes and luxuries outside the rationed commodities, and deductions for income-tax, they were in a much worse position there than they had been in Dublin. Last week a fine young fellow came to me and told me he came from a medium-sized farm in Longford. I pointed out to him that his labour was badly needed on that farm at the present time. He told me he wanted a change and came to the city to seek work. This week another young man came to me to help him to get something to do. He told me he had been working in England, had married there and had to pay 50/- a week in Oxford for one room for himself and his wife.

It is true that many people leave this country lightly to go abroad. I do not for one moment mean to contend that there is no unemployment here. There is, unfortunately. I do not mean to contend that there is no poverty here. There is, unfortunately. [2436] But a Higher Authority than any in this House has said: “The poor you have always with you”. As long as human nature is what it is and as long as human frailties are what they are, there will be poverty in every country in the world, no matter what the general conditions may be. Some of the poorest families that I know are families into which quite good money is going, but in which there is, possibly, a drunken or gambling father or an improvident, incompetent mother. There will be the greatest poverty in homes of that sort. I do not say that in any callous or fatalistic way. It is our duty to alleviate human suffering and to work towards the elimination of poverty to the utmost of our power, but it is wrong to say that this country is in the plight that was indicated by Deputy Dillon and other Deputies.

Deputy McGilligan treated this question in a light and facetious way, as, indeed, he seems to treat most important questions. He made great play on the words “control” and “prohibit”. I suppose the Government Department concerned, when people apply to leave this country, will make inquiries, and if they find it unnecessary for these people to leave and that it is necessary for them to remain in the country, they will prohibit them from leaving the country. “Prohibit.” is the right word and the right thing.

When Deputy McGilligan spoke of control, I wonder if he meant that the Government should determine whether these people crossing over to England should swim or go by air, by steam packet, yacht or sailing boat. There must be some sort of control over them. Deputy Dillon has very fantastic ideas about Fianna Fáil. His talk about coercion and free men is all humbug. I think Deputy Cosgrave, on reflection, will admit that the control in this measure is much different from that in the unhappy days of long ago when the conditions were purposely designed to make the people flee from this country. Deputy Dillon and others might as well say that a man cannot call himself a free man when he cannot stop in a public house [2437] after 10.30, or because he must obey the traffic rules. It is rubbish to talk of coercion, as was done last night.

Deputy Dillon appears to look upon Ireland with a very jaundiced eye, seeing nothing good in the country at present. It is very disedifying to hear and see Deputy Dillon sealing the heights of mock indignation and plumbing the depths of theatrical pathos, in order to make people believe that this country is in a state of wretchedness, misery and misfortune, when he knows in his heart that he should be thanking God, since we are probably the happiest country in the world to-day and the envy of other nations. It is unworthy of Fine Gael, Labour and Clann na Talmhan to try to sow the seeds of discontent among our workers, to belittle the efforts of the native Government, to create an inferiority complex among Irishmen, to point Ireland out as a sort of purgatory from which to seek relief, and to picture every other country as an El Dorado to which Irishmen should flee.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  Probably no Deputy has spoken so frequently as I have against the evil of emigration. I regard the emigration of our young people as an open gash in the nation's main artery, through which the nation is bleeding to death. Nevertheless, I do not hold that the way to stop emigration is the way indicated by Deputy Fogarty, by a ruthless coercion measure prohibiting our people from leaving. In his buoyant and boyish days, the Taoiseach used to talk about building a wall around Ireland. At that time, the wall was intended mainly to keep out goods and commodities; but in this amendment we are presented with another type of wall, in which all the barbed wire is on the inside, a wall intended to keep our people within the country and turn this State into a kind of internment camp.

Donnchadh O Briain: Information on Donnchadh Ó Briain  Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Briain  That is good talk from the representative of a so-called Farmers' Party.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  I do not think that interruption is relevant. I have made it clear that we farmers do not believe [2438] in internment. In some districts, there may be a shortage of good farm workers, but the way to obtain them is not by depriving them of their liberty to seek employment where they will. The real reason why we are short of farm workers is that farming is a bad paying proposition. Make it a better paying one and there will be an ample supply of workers, both of farmers' sons and farm labourers. Here we have an attempt to take from the ordinary citizen—and particularly from the humbler citizen—the liberty to which he is entitled. It might be said that, even if we had the best possible conditions and unexampled prosperity, a certain number of our people would seek to leave. That is true, and it is not an undesirable state of affairs, as the number who would leave when conditions were prosperous would be only a small minority and would not affect the life of the nation. If conditions were prosperous, there would also be a certain number of people coming in from outside, there would be an exchange of a small section of the populations of all nations, and that would not be an evil but would make for better intercourse between nations. There is always a certain minority in every country who want to travel to see life, to see the conditions elsewhere and compare them with conditions in their own country; and it would be an undesirable state of affairs to take that liberty from our citizens.

The speeches of Deputies Fogarty and Butler represent a type of mentality which would exist in a completely totalitarian State where the ordinary citizens are not considered to be entitled to ordinary human liberty. We all deplore the evil of mass emigration and consider it serious that many of our people should be forced to emigrate, but that cannot be stopped by the lazy incompetent method of coercion. It must be stopped by the concentrated energy of all our people in the development of our resources, and not by interference with human liberty.

Mícheál Ó Cléirigh: Information on Michael Cleary  Zoom on Michael Cleary  I do not wish to prolong the debate as it was deliberately prolonged yesterday evening, but [2439] in the course of it many statements were made which, on reflection, the Deputies who made them will realise are entirely unfounded and are against the interests of the communities that they themselves claim to represent. As a matter of fact, the difficulties of emigration complained of are not put in their way by this Government at all. Most of the difficulties talked about yesterday were created by the British Government and, if they are to be remedied, the statements made here should have been directed to the Premier of the British Government. For instance, quite a number of people chose to come to this country from Britain a number of years ago and are anxious to get back to England now, but the British Government will not allow them in again. There are numbers of women in this country whose husbands are in England. They are here with their children and they are anxious to get back to England because of certain conditions that exist there, but the British Government will not have them, with or without their children.

The suggestion that this Government is preventing women from going to England to join their husbands there is absolutely unfounded. Deputies who make that type of complaint should be better informed and they should not lay the blame at the Minister's door. If there is any reason why our Government would prevent wives joining their husbands in England it is because in some cases both husbands and wives are anxious to leave their children unprovided for in this country. Can any Deputy with any sense of responsibility say that that is incorrect or wrong on the part of this Government? Surely, it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that children left here will not be forsaken by their parents. Adequate provision must be made for their upkeep here. Are we to take it that the Farmer's Party do not object to these children being put on our rates? I think the Department have always met, in a resonable way, applications for facilities to travel by men and women of all grades in this country.

[2440] The provision that is suggested now in relation to certain classes of people is such that, if it were not there, we would have the loudest protests imaginable from Deputies on the opposite benches. If there were unrestricted travel facilities from this country, and if the Government took no precautions, by having sufficient labour here, to ensure that our crops would be harvested, so that we shall have sufficient food and fuel, I have no doubt we would have an outery from the Opposition. If no provision were made by the Government towards that end, we would have among the Opposition an atmosphere of ugliness and nothing but abuse of the Government. In this amendment the merest provision is being made to ensure that food and fuel will be provided for our people. I think that is the first thing that should be considered here by all responsible people.

Nobody who is employed in this country wants to go to England. There are, of course, certain people who may be anxious to go, and I think that is mainly due to the idea that has been created that everything in England is grand and everything here is in a hopeless condition. Deputies should remember there are many people in England anxious to get back here. They are continually writing to know when an opening may occur, even as a farm labourer, in guaranteed employment. We have had statements like Deputy Cogan's a moment ago that farming is a bad proposition from the paying point of view. If people in England were to take such statements seriously, they would not be anxious to come here and, indeed, not many of our own people would be anxious to remain here. If Deputy Cogan would discuss that matter with the leader of his Party, Deputy Blowick, of my own county, I think Deputy Blowick would hotly contradict him. Farming is a paying proposition for good farmers—a good paying proposition—and there is a greater anxiety as the years go by on the part of more men to get on the land as farmers.

It is the greatest hypocrisy for Deputy Cogan to state that farming is [2441] a bad paying proposition. There are no sales by down-and-out farmers nowadays; there are no farmers selling out because they cannot remain on the land. It is absolute hypocrisy on the part of any Deputy to make that kind of statement. If Deputy Cogan discussed the subject of farming as a paying proposition with the Leader of his Party, he would be hotly contradicted, if not in public, at least in private, for the sake of policy.

I think the Minister is very wise and reasonable in putting in this provision. It does not limit the natural freedom of the individual. There are restrictions in every country in the matter of travel. In many countries people will not be allowed back to their homeland under the laws of their own Governments. There is conscription in practically every country of any note in the world. Because men here are told by the Government that it considers their labour necessary for the life of the nation and that they must remain here in order to provide food and fuel for the people, certain Deputies protest. I think it is a perfectly reasonable provision and it cannot be contested by any person who seriously considers his responsibility.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Many Deputies, even before this Emergency Bill was introduced, have brought to the notice of the Minister for External Affairs the cases of people wishing to go from this country to England to work, so that there is nothing new in discussing this matter here. I am one of those who never taxed the Government for their failure to solve the unemployment problem. I know they are not in a position to do so. Many Deputies are very fond of twitting the Government for their failure in that respect. Possibly that may be attributed to a great extent to the lavish promises which the Fianna Fáil Party made years ago. I believe all the crocodile tears shed in regard to emigration are nothing but pure hypocrisy. I never regarded emigration as a thing to be ashamed of, as a thing to be avoided or scorned, and I never felt that legislation should be introduced in order to prevent it. I think that emigration during the past [2442] five or six years has been a great safety valve for this country. It was a very good thing that so many people were able to go away. Take the building trade, to which Deputy Butler referred. There are very few men in that trade to-day who could say they were born and reared and were able to earn their living in the one town. Only one man in a thousand, possibly, could say that with truth.

This world was made for mankind. God made the world for mankind. He did not make any particular country for any particular race or sect. The world is there for every man to go through. That is my idea and I suggest that every right-thinking man has the same idea. We have heard a lot of talk about keeping people here. Why, a man coming up from the country to look for a job in Dublin would be chased like a Red Indian. We hear a lot of talk about freedom inside our own country. I hold that for the last six years our people, having put up with a great many inconvenient restrictions, are yearning for the time when all controls and restrictions will be discontinued, and when the necessity for them will cease. I believe that time has arrived. I also believe that the Taoiseach has no right to curtail the liberty of any man who wants to go away to look for work. I am accustomed to hard work. I know all about it. In the first world war I did not remain here idle one day, but went to work in England. I finished work as a clerk of works on Wednesday and I was working on a scaffold in the North of England on Friday. That did not make me any the less an Irishman. It did not make me forget my wife and family. It takes a manly man to make up his mind to travel. When he does, it shows that there is something in him. With all respect to the Taoiseach I hold that he should not in any way restrict the freedom of any man who wants to go away to earn a living. Next to murder, the greatest crime that can be committed against a human being is to deprive him of liberty. If you cannot give him work here, do not prevent him earning a living elsewhere. I think I am on firm ground in taxing the Government with attacking that [2443] liberty. Therefore, allow every man to earn a living somewhere.

Great play was made by some Deputies about the shortage of human material that might arise in the event of work starting here on an enormous scale. Deputy Butler said that he had some experience of the building trade. I have some experience of that trade. The Deputy suggested that if building starts here, when materials are available for bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers and others engaged in ancillary trades, if workers were allowed to go away, we would have a shortage of skilled labour. While using the words “if” and “when” Deputy Butler did not give any hint as to when materials will be available, or as to what these bricklayers and carpenters are going to do for employment in the meantime. The Government speak of proposing to spend £100,000,000 over a number of years on building houses. Imagine the number of years that must elapse before £100,000,000 is spent on such work. An Order was made recently by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the effect that no person can start structural work exceeding £500 without a licence. Deputy Butler may be a mathematician. If so, he can divide £500 into £100,000,000 and find the number of years that would elapse before that amount was spent. In the meantime where would all the men find work? I am not one who belittles this country. I think this is a good country. I never said in this House that here conditions were bad. I am not arguing from that point of view now. I consider that this amendment restricts the freedom of the individual. If I decide to go to another country whether I am in employment here or not, I should be free to make a choice.

I cannot see why restrictions should be placed, especially on the working classes as distinct from the professional classes. If the average labourer living one and a half miles outside a town cannot get work in a town in the vicinity of his residence, is he to be precluded from going across the Channel to take up employment? Why [2444] is that distinction made when doctors, nurses, and the professional classes are allowed to go in hundreds and thousands? I cannot understand why there is one law for the professional classes and another law for the working classes. We will always have an exportable surplus of human beings. Deputies should get that into their heads. There is no use in getting up and saying that young men leave this country in a spirit of adventure. That is a new saying of Fianna Fáil Deputies, very different from what they said prior to the advent of a Fianna Fáil Government, and different from a statement made at one time by the Taoiseach: that he saw no reason why this country should not be able to support 9,000,000 people instead of 3,000,000. The Taoiseach made that statement some years ago, but, like a wise man, he found that he had made a mistake. He had not the practical experience that some of us have had. Though some of us may not be Leaders of Parties, speaking from practical experience, I would not play second fiddle to any man in my understanding of human psychology. Workmen want no restrictions on their freedom. They want to be able to go to Liverpool if they are fit to go there for work. Dundalk is a seaport, and it is regarded as a next-door neighbour of Liverpool by workers, many of whom would not think of coming to Dublin when they want a job. They cross to Liverpool just as casually as they cross the street, and they send money they earn home to their families. Instead of being a loss, I think these earnings are invisible assets. Men go away to work, and I do not see any harm in that if work is not available here.

For that reason I do not see why this amendment should be included in our legislation. It is only going to cause friction between different classes. As far as I can see it will not go to militate against this country if the amendment is withdrawn. It will not affect the farming community or the provision of sufficient fuel. I am as much interested in the progress of the farmers as any Deputy. A great hullabaloo was raised last year about a shortage of labour. I have not had [2445] any experience of it. I have spoken to many farmers and as far as I know there is no shortage of labour, in the sense that any losses resulted from such shortage. Some people might consider that a man should go to an employer on Monday morning, should go again on Tuesday, and then come back on Wednesday; that he should go as a mendicant day after day looking for work. Let us be realists. Does any Deputy think that any man of 24 or 25 years of age, who has any sense of manliness, should be asked to remain in this country looking for work that does not extend at the best of times beyond three weeks in the sowing season and three weeks in the harvest? Is he to wait for nine or ten months idle or on the dole for a few weeks' work? Of course it is all right for people with £800 or £1,000 a year, or those who have other sources of income to say that young men go away in a spirit of adventure. Let Deputy Butler put himself in the position of a young man who wants to improve himself, or in the position of an only son who wants to go away and earn a little money for the support of his widowed mother, because an elder son had got married. Put himself in the position of that young man who wants to get away to earn money, which he cannot earn here and which he is willing to earn if he gets the opportunity to do so.

Mr. Butler: Information on Bernard Butler  Zoom on Bernard Butler  He would not be stopped.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  I am quite prepared to go with Deputy Butler to the labour exchange and have an interview with the manager, and he will soon know what the facts are. Now, I am not one to go against the Government merely because it is the Government. As a matter of fact, behind their backs, I give them more support than some of their own supporters give them, and if their own supporters would follow my suggestions at county council meetings the Government would be better off. At county council meetings I have frequently pointed out proposals of the Government that should be supported when their own people were only making things more difficult for the Minister concerned. I have had experience of that, and therefore [2446] I say to the Taoiseach that he should withdraw this amendment and should not impose any restrictions whatsoever on people who cannot get work here but who are able to get work on the far side and would send the money home.

I know, of course, that when this amendment is passed people will still be allowed to go. I am not so innocent as to think that the Taoiseach could, even if he would, prevent all and sundry from going. There would be a revolution here if that were done. I quite appreciate that. On the other hand, there are men who are prevented from going on the plea that there may be a shortage here. The question of the building trade has been referred to, and the question of fuel, food production, and so on. That is just a myth. You cannot build all the houses overnight. You cannot build all the houses in a year. That would be bad policy. It cannot be done, for one thing, but even if it could be done it would be bad policy. First of all, the materials are not here, and then there will always be a certain amount of come and go; you will have men working to-day and idle to-morrow. We have had that for a great number of years, but, for goodness sake, do not have any more restrictions on the freedom of the individual. We have experienced restrictions for the last four or five years, and we put up with them. I quite agree that that situation could have been far worse, but everybody is yearing for the day when we will come back to the old normal times. Businessmen, industrialists—everyone of them wants all restrictions and controls taken off, as far as it is humanly possible to do so, except those that can be proved to be indispensable and essential for the safety of the State. I maintain that restricting the liberty of a workingman in this way is not essential. The fact that he is going away is not going to sabotage this country. They went in years gone by, and they will continue to go. They have been going from time immemorial, and will continue to go, because I believe it is ordained that the people of this country will go out as they did of old, not alone in search [2447] of work but, as in the olden days, to educate the peoples of the world. I believe that this is the lot of this country, whether we like it or not. Consequently, I appeal to the Taoiseach to withdraw this amendment and, now that the war is over, allow things to get back to normal as soon as possible because, by doing that, it will not create anything that would be inimical to the best interests of the people of this country.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I do not know if I could bring this back to its proper setting again. This is not asking for new powers for the Government. It is simply asking for the retention of powers, or a section of the powers, which the Government has had up to the present. The last speaker said that everybody is yearning for the day when these restrictions, controls, and so on, will all be removed. I am sure he will admit that there ought to be no people who are so anxious for that as the Government, because a tremendous amount of time and a great deal of hard work have been devoted to the framing of these, and anxiety for the welfare of the people as a whole has been caused by the fact that we have had to have restrictions, but the restrictions were necessary for the life of the community in view of the situation in which we found ourselves. The whole difficulty is that some people will not realise that we are not yet out of the wood. Europe is in a desperate condition, and there is a war on in which our nearest neighbour is engaged. Supplies are not available, transport is not available, and the life of this community cannot yet be carried on as normally as it would in full peace times. That is the first thing that Deputies and people in the country will have to get into their minds. What we are asking is to retain some of the powers we believe to be necessary to cope with the difficulties that remain. We would be only too anxious for the day to come in which that situation could be completely and fully changed. We are getting rid of a number of the powers we had. In my opinion, and in the opinion of Ministers who have to deal [2448] with it, we cannot give up completely the power to control the departure of our citizens from this country. I indicated last night that the power of that control—and you cannot have the power to control without the power of prohibiting—was necessitated by the fact that the neighbouring country to which they go has its own regulations; that life in that country for the last five or six years is not a normal life, and that people going from this country over there, unless arrangements were properly made for them, would find themselves in a very difficult situation indeed, and most of these controls have resulted in safeguarding the interests of the very people who went. Controls are necessary in order that our arrangements will fit in with the arrangements of the people on the other side. Controls are necessary in order that the life of the community will not suffer severely.

It is said that this is a restriction of liberty. Of course, all these things are restrictions of liberty. Law is a restriction of liberty. There is no people which is living in absolute liberty in an ordered society. It cannot be done. That is simply anarchy, and it would not be liberty because it would be only liberty for the bully and the strong. In order to maintain liberty for the ordinary person you have to have regulation, and you cannot have that absolute liberty which people talk about. It simply does not exist in any ordered society. I agree that the less control we have the better, but once it is realised that certain controls are necessary and that that is all that is asked for, in order to safeguard the interests of the community, then I am with those who seek less restrictions and controls. The only question, then, that remains is: Is it necessary? Coming back to general principles, have individuals in a State no obligations to the community in which they live? Have individuals, who have been educated in the country, who, by the ordered society of the country, have been enabled to grow up, no responsibilities and no obligations whatever to the community of which they form a part? There is no State in the world that would accept that. There is no State [2449] in the world that would act on that principle. Every State in the world, or every organised community, holds that in virtue of the protection and support it gives its citizens in ordinary times, it has a right to control these citizens in times of crisis and when it is necessary to control them in the interests of the community as a whole.

We are not doing anything abnormal in maintaining controls in time of emergency. That is the ordinary, natural thing to do in every State. Again, I say that the fewer controls we have the better but, when it is clear that these controls are necessary either in the interests of the community as a whole or in the interests of the individuals themselves, the State has a right to exercise them. Will any Deputy on the opposite side say that it is a good thing that young girls should be allowed to put themselves in a position in which they may find themselves without any control, that they should go to England or any other country without anybody to look after them? I do not think that anybody would say that it would be to the benefit of the individuals concerned, of their families or of the community that that should happen. Will anybody say that a mother should be allowed to leave her children here and to go elsewhere to join her husband? I am not quite sure whether wives are permitted to go across unless they are going into work themselves but, suppose a mother left this country and left her children behind, would we have no responsibility as a State to those children? Have we not the right to say to the mother: “No, you must take your children with you. If you want to join your husband and if you take your family, well and good, but you are not going to desert your children and leave them here”? Is it not obvious that you must have controls of that sort?

Coming back to the other question, is it not well to have controls so as to be able to assure ourselves that our people who are going over are going into employment? That is approaching the matter from the point of view of the welfare of the people immediately affected. Inducements of various kinds are being offered to [2450] people to go out at present. Advertisements are being issued so that many of our people think that there is an El Dorado on the other side. We all know that cows far away have long horns and that young people can be played upon. Have we no responsibility to see that those young people are not led away by these inducements and that, if they do leave the country, they will be leaving to go into certain employment? That is looking at the matter from the point of view of the individuals themselves. Let us look at it from the point of view of the community. I have said that every State recognises that the individuals of the community have a responsibility to the State in time of emergency. Otherwise, why should such things as complete and absolute conscription of wealth and property and individual liberty—the putting of men into armies and the sending of them out to die—be accepted? That is done to maintain the independence of the State and to provide for its wellbeing. Are all these things wrong or immoral? Are they against the ordinary liberties which an individual ought to possess? They are the complement to the doctrine that the State is there for the good of the individual. If the State is to effect that good for the individual, it must be in a position to preserve itself.

Suppose we had only one special class of persons who were turf workers. Suppose they were the only persons who could provide fuel. Would we be right or wrong in saying that we would not allow them out of the country, that they were indispensable to the well-being of the community? Would we be right in saying to them that if we allowed them out there would be children in our cities who would be famished? I am going on the hypothesis that we had only a special class who could produce fuel. Would we not be entitled to say to those people: “You cannot go because, if you go, the children in our cities will be famished.” Similarly, if we had merely one class able to produce essential food, would we not be entitled to say to them that they could not go because, if they did, the people would starve? We have a right to do [2451] these things if they are absolutely necessary.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  You are assuming the complete sovereignty of the State over the individual.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I am dealing with general principles which were debated in this House. The suggestion was that the State had no such rights and that such action on the part of the State was an arbitrary interference with the rightful liberty of the individual. The State has a right to do these things.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  On the majority vote of a Party.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  The State has a right to protect itself and secure the well-being of the community if there are conditions such as I have indicated.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Expressed on the majority vote of a Party.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Expressed in the only way in which an ordered community has an opportunity of expressing or governing itself—by the majority vote of its representatives. I have been speaking of general principles. How these principles should be applied is a different question. If they are applied harshly and arbitrarily, then there is a rightful complaint.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Right. That is my point.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I agree with the Deputy on that. Take the case of a young man who is not able to get any work here. If he has to provide sustenance for some people, and if he is kept here without being given work, then there is a grievance and a wrong. Does that happen?

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Yes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  If it does, it can happen only through maladministration. We all know that you can have accidents like that.

Mr. Coburn: Information on James Coburn  Zoom on James Coburn  Agreed.

[2452]The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Everybody knows that, when you are carrying out general regulations, it is almost impossible to provide for every single case on its merits. In all these regulations, a general rule has to be adopted. A general rule will always be favourable to some particular person or persons and harsh to others. You cannot administer any system of laws or general regulations so as to bear only proportionately on the different individuals affected. That would mean a separate examination of each case, which is quite impossible. The only way to administer those general regulations is to work on the average because you cannot have regard to each particular case. I believe that exceptions brought to notice by Deputies would be attended to. That is one of the services which Deputies render to the community. It causes a good deal of inconvenience at times, but Deputies are able to serve the community by making representations in cases in which the law falls rather heavily and harshly on individuals— cases in which the Legislature would have made an exception if they had had in mind such circumstances. Deputies perform that service constantly. Doubtless, there have been cases—I do not know of any myself— in which those general rules have borne harshly on certain individuals but, on the whole, I think that they have been administered as generously in regard to the individual as was possible. If those rules had been applied in the way suggested by Deputies, the people would not have gone away at all. While power of control will have to be retained, it may be possible, as time goes on, more and more to alter the classes and individuals who are affected.

There are certain classes, I think, in respect to whom, so long as this emergency lasts, nobody would urge that the powers should be altered. I have mentioned one or two. So far as others are concerned, I assure the House that the attitude of the Government has been, first of all, to try to use whatever materials we have to provide employment here so that there will not be any inducement to emigrate but there [2453] are exceptional circumstances on the other side which make for very high wages there. In these circumstances there are attractions for individuals to leave which will probably cease after a short time when a more natural level will be reached. Remember, however, that those who go abroad will have the right to come back and when they come back, they will have the right to be treated as members of our community. If they have that right to come back, when things go bad on the other side, have we not the right, when it is regarded as necessary for the life of the community, to say to them: “Very well this will be a refuge for you afterwards. Can you expect to have that refuge, if you will not help our community in its time of need?” I think the matter can be looked at in that way.

However, the desire is to get rid of these restrictions from every point of view, from the point of view of principle as well as from the point of view of convenience [2454] and practice, as soon as possible. The power of controlling departure, however, is necessary, both in the interests of the community, so long as the scarcity of supplies lasts, and in the interests of individuals themselves. I am sorry, therefore, that I must press for the adoption of the amendment.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  I should like to ask the Taoiseach——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  The Report Stage is not a time to ask questions.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  As the Army is going to be demobilised——

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is a different matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  That question does not arise.

Mr. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  What are you going to do with these men?

Amendment put.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Denis.
Bartley, Gerald.
Beegan, Patrick.
Blaney, Neal.
Boland, Gerald.
Brady, Brian.
Brady, Seán.
Breathnach, Cormae.
Breen, Daniel.
Brennan, Thomas.
Briscoe, Robert.
Butler, Bernard.
Childers, Erskine H.
Colley, Harry.
De Valera, Eamon.
Flynn, Stephen.
Furlong, Walter.
Gorry, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Humphreys, Francis.
Killilea, Mark.
Kilroy, James.
Kissane, Eamon.
Lemass, Seán F.
Loughman, Frank.
McCann, John.
MacEntee, Seán.
Moran, Michael.
Moylan, Seán.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Cléirigh, Mícheál.
O'Grady, Seán.
O'Reilly, Matthew.
O'Rourke, Daniel.
Rice, Bridget M.
Ruttledge, Patrick J.
Ryan, James.
Ryan, Robert.
Sheridan, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Traynor, Oscar.
Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
Walsh, Laurence.
Ward, Conn.

Anthony, Richard S.
Beirne, John.
Bennett, George C.
Blowick, Joseph.
Browne, Patrick.
Byrne, Alfred.
Cafferky, Dominick.
Coburn, James.
Cogan, Patrick. [2455]MacEoin, Seán.
Mulcahy, Richard.
Norton, William.
O'Donnell, William F.
Corish, Richard.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry M.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Finucane, Patrick.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Hughes, James.
Keating, John. [2456]O'Leary, John.
O'Reilly, Patrick.
O'Reilly, Thomas.
O'Sullivan, Martin.

Amendment declared carried.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I move amendment No. 2:—

In page 2, Section 5, sub-section (1), paragraph (d), line 45, to insert before the word “after” the following words “of sub-section (2)”.

This is a purely verbal amendment. It is the usual method of reference to a paragraph marking.

Amendment agreed to.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I move amendment No. 3:—

In page 3, Section 5, sub-section (1), paragraph (e), line 1, to insert before the word “after” the following words “of sub-section (2)”.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  We accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  Amendments Nos. 4, 7 and 8 are out of order. Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 cover the same matter and may be discussed together.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I move amendment No. 5:—

In page 3, Section 6, sub-section (1), to delete paragraph (c), line 31, and substitute the following paragraphs:—

(c) to authorise and provide for the censorship of pictures, or

(d) to authorise and provide for the prohibition, restriction or control of the entry of natural-born Irish citizens into the State or the movements of natural-born Irish citizens within the State, or

(e) to authorise and provide for the detention of natural-born Irish citizens, or

(f) to authorise the arrest without warrant of natural-born Irish citizens, or

(g) to authorise and provide for the searching of natural-born Irish citizens, or

(h) to suspend the operation of or amend or apply (with or without modification) the Principal Act, the Act of 1942, or this Act.

This is designed simply to make the provision effective in the way that the Opposition wished. It was not necessary, in our opinion, but, in order to assure the Opposition, I agreed to put it in in this form.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  I accept the form in which the Taoiseach has put the amendment dealing with the matters to which he agreed the other day and I accept that he meets me with regard to every one of the matters then agreed to, except the matter of the Government's taking power to prohibit travelling out of the country of Irish nationals. To some extent, I accept that. In so far as my amendment No. 6 deals with removing that power from the Government, it has fallen on the vote which has just been taken, but I want to say, on the general principle which the Taoiseach raised on amendment No. 1, that I do not accept that the State has any right to prevent me leaving this country, if I want to leave it, and has any right to order me to do a particular class of work which it considers I am the only person able to do in the interests of the State.

This, perhaps, is not the time to argue the full implications of the theory which the Taoiseach lays down, but I think it necessary for me to say that I resist and reject that theory. To go further into the matter would open quite a big and wide discussion. If the State is to have the protection of all its citizens, it must be a State so conducted that it will have the willing service of citizens, educated and cared for in a suitable way. If we are to have a State here which is to claim the right—and particularly over the [2457] poorer sections, because, in relation to all this theory and all these plans about which we are talking, we are talking about the poorer section of the people—in respect of the people, some of whom get early education as infants in classes of 100 and thousands of whom in the City of Dublin leave their schools, to the number of 5,000 or 6,000 a year, with no place in which to get employment, but compelled to hang around their homes or the streets in the very formative part of their lives, seeing day in and day out their hopes wasting and their faith in things around them being blasted, to do as the Taoiseach lays down we are going to run into a very nasty period.

There are men in this country who risked all, who risked their lives, in order to give the people freedom to manage their own affairs. They would not have done that under a sentence of law, and if it were a rule of law that governed them in their action, they would not have gone through those times or brought about the solidarity of national opinion which they brought about. Let us face things in a realistic way. Let us get people to realise that this country is a free country and that its people will be treated as free people. Let them be taught to hold up their heads as free people, and, holding up their heads, realise their responsibilities to their neighbours and the capacity which a human being has for serving his neighbour, if he brings his mind and spirit to it in a proper way.

But if in this hour of the world's day and with the passing of the war emergency, we are to have theories laid down and expressed in actual practice such as that of which the Taoiseach speaks, with the temptation which the present Government has with regard to its own prestige, its love for power and the power it actually has, then this country is going to have a difficult and disturbed time of it. I resist the Taoiseach's theory now, and the fact does emerge that much of what the Taoiseach now says will find itself in the backs of our minds when we come to discuss very many matters both constructively and in a critical way in future.

[2458]The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  With regard to what Deputy Mulcahy has said, I stood up not to advance new theories but rather to deal with statements that were made which were contrary to ordinary practice in every State in the world. If, during the emergency, we did not have the right to do the things we suggest, we were wrong all the time. Mind you, I was speaking of an emergency. If the State, in a time of emergency, had not the right of control such as we have exercised here, then we were wrong all the time. Why did Deputies opposite give us power to do those things? They did it because they knew that citizens have a duty to the State just as the State has a duty to citizens—that there is a reverse side to that medal. We have those controls because they were necessary for the well-being of the community, and for no other reason.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  In an emergency?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  In an emergency, and I was particularly careful to point out that it was in an emergency. I was careful to point that out. If the State cares for its citizens, if the whole resources of the community are made available for the well-being of an individual in ordinary times, then, in times of crisis, that individual has a duty back to the community. That is my proposition. It is also the proposition that in peace times there is no such thing as this absolute liberty at any time, and those who preach that doctrine to individuals are preaching a false doctrine. Individuals cannot live in absolute freedom in the community. They have to live subject to the regulations which the community makes for the well-being of each individual citizen in it. The other is anarchy, and it is the preaching of anarchy that is responsible for a great deal of the wrong-doing in the world. The whole social doctrine which we believe in here is that the relations between the community and the individual——

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Are we now talking about an emergency?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I am talking about it in general, and with special application to an emergency period.

[2459]General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  But the Taoiseach is also talking about it in peace times?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Controls may be necessary in peace times. We are passing laws here which are restricting individuals from doing what they like. We cannot, in a civilised and ordered community, do just what we like. The well-being of the community has to be taken into account. The thing is that the well-being of the community has to be provided for with the least possible interference. That is what we ought to aim at—only such interference as is proved necessary for the well-being of the community. In pressing for this amendment here, that departure be subject to control, we are pressing for it on the basis that the well-being of the community demands it, and that there is no avoidable hardship on the individual in the doing of it. People who cannot get employment are not stopped here. People who were under 22 years of age, when there was a call for the Army, were stopped, because it was felt that people who are in a position to serve the country when it is asked of them should do so if they have the means of doing it. There were some restrictions of that sort, with a very good reason behind them. What I am telling the House is that the powers of control are necessary for the good of the individual, and for the community as a whole, and that the aim of the Government is with all possible speed to get rid of those controls the moment circumstances make it possible to do so.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I think the Taoiseach——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  I am afraid I cannot hear the Deputy. We are on Report Stage.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  The Deputy has not spoken yet, and the Taoiseach has spoken twice.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The Taoiseach got in before me.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  He concludes on amendments on the Report Stage.

[2460]Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  It was not indicated by you that the Taoiseach was concluding. I would have got in before the Taoiseach if I had thought he was concluding.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  I will hear the Deputy then.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I thought the Taoiseach was simply making a point in reply to Deputy Mulcahy.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  On Report Stage, nobody but the mover is allowed to speak twice on any amendment.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I have not spoken at all.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  I know, but the Taoiseach spoke and he was concluding.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The Taoiseach was in a hurry to make a point in reply to Deputy Mulcahy, but that was no fault of mine.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  It was a misunderstanding on the part of the Deputy, so I will allow him to speak.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  On the part of the Chair, I submit.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  No The Deputy did not offer to speak.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The Taoiseach was off his mark very quickly, and I did not think he was concluding.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  The Deputy ought to have been quicker.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The Taoiseach is not normally so anxious to speak. To-day he was particularly alert. The point I want to make is that the Taoiseach seems to me to be trying to import into his arguments for this amendment a philosophy based upon the restrictions which everybody accepts as applicable to our circumstances in time of war. The Taoiseach said, for instance, that the Opposition Parties gave him those powers to exercise during the war. They did, because they knew that war was raging in Europe. They did, because they knew that titanic armies were marching over frontiers. They did it, because they [2461] witnessed the Armageddon that was before their eyes. They gave those powers to the Government, to be exercised in times of war. But the Taoiseach must know that the war in Europe has ended. We must approach the situation from the standpoint of that fact, and realise that the things you are justified in doing daring war you are not justified in doing when war has ceased, when the peoples of the world are turning their minds to a peace-time evolution of their national lives, and to preparing the world for a period of peace. The Taoiseach, however, wants to say that, because he was enabled to do those things during the war, because he was permitted to do them in the interests of the well-being of the nation, he ought also to be entitled to do them when the war drums have ceased. But the Taoiseach must recognise that, by reason of the powers contained in this amending Bill, he is exercising a domination over the lives of citizens which this or any other Government never sought in times of peace.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  These are not times of peace.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  I am talking now about pre-1939. Before 1939 the Taoiseach never sought to equip the Government with powers of this character. During the war, however, it was felt that certain extreme powers of this kind, if not absolutely necessary, should at least be acknowledged as something that a Government might utilise because of the circumstances confronting it. But now, we are moving from a war-time situation into a time of peace, and the Taoiseach is defending this power with all the vigour that one would expect him to use in a war-time situation. But circumstances, of course, are entirely different to-day. The Taoiseach made the case—I quite agree with a couple of the cases he made—that it is not desirable to allow a woman to go to England and leave her children behind her; that it may not be desirable to let a young girl go to England without the consent of her parents, and mix with a community with which she is not normally identified.

[2462] These are just commonplace matters about which there should be some type of control. But in this Bill the Government is taking wider powers of control. It wants absolute power to decide whether or not a citizen will be allowed to leave the country. So far as this Bill is concerned it is not the well-to-do classes, the big business people, the big farmers or those who occupy houses in Dublin's suburbia who want to leave the country. The Bill does not affect them, but it does affect the ordinary working-class people, the ordinary workers who are bewildered from one end of the year to the other as to how they are going to make ends meet and discharge their family responsibilities on the low rates of wages they are receiving. The Taoiseach says, for instance, that if the State decides that a particular man is necessary to do a particular job it has the right to prevent him from leaving the country. If the State claims the right to exercise that power it cannot do so in logic, I suggest, without recognising that there is an obligation on it to give the man a decent competence within the State so that he may provide for his wife, children and himself in the manner that he desires. We might have a different outlook on this if we saw that agricultural workers were being paid a decent rate of wages, but they are not. The Minister for Agriculture will not take steps to do that for them. They are compelled to work for a beggarly wage. They have to try to maintain themselves, their wives and children—some of them with families of six children—on a wage of £2 a week in this year of 1945 when the cost of living has increased by over 70 per cent. as compared with 1939.

It is that low-wage policy, and the fact that the worker is given no release within the State from its operation, which makes this kind of domination particularly objectionable to me. If the State would recognise, in respect of every citizen, the right to a decent family wage to enable him to keep his wife, children and himself in decency, one could probably justify the retention of our citizens here because by their efforts they would help not only [2463] to create wealth but to diffuse it here. While you have, as part of the Government's deliberate policy, low wage standards, of which the worker is the victim, and while you will not allow him out of the country but will compel him to work here for a low rate of wages, then no matter how much the Taoiseach may pine about his conceptions of individual liberty, he is, in fact, regimenting the lives of our ordinary working-class people. The desirable thing would be to aim at a position in which our people would be induced to remain here because of the decent rates of wages and of the high standards of social services that obtained, standards that would be in accordance with Irish concepts of life, but we are not doing that. Instead of doing that we are exercising this domination over them and preventing them from going elsewhere. I could see this matter in an entirely different light if the Government had a different wage policy, but, so long as it condemns people to work for low rates of wages, it has no right to deny them the opportunity of getting elsewhere, either in Ireland or abroad, that standard of life which they rightly aspire to.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 not moved.

Question—“That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration,”—put and agreed to.

Last Updated: 18/05/2011 19:59:07 First Page Previous Page Page of 5 Next Page Last Page